(Close Window)
Topic: Multiplying Balls routine
Message: Posted by: that_magic_guy (Apr 17, 2007 08:54AM)
I have played around with this effect for some time and now want to add it to my show but I don't know of any good routines I hear that shimada has a good one are there any others out there you would suggest?
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Apr 17, 2007 10:21AM)
Check out tim wright's DVD
run,don't walk and check out charlie Frye's DVD (and get them all while you're there)
check out McBride's DVDs
sammy smith has one that I use for kids shows in his book.
Mark Wilson's book has a great routine.
The Romaine DVD
The Wakeling Book has his unique routine
The Benson book is a great resource too.


And hunt down Harry Murphy and others that do/know far more than myself about these round things.
Message: Posted by: FunTimeAl (Apr 17, 2007 10:50AM)
Charlie Fry's routine rocks...so you might want to try standing on a folded up napkin while performing it.

Well, that's what Frank does in the restaurants and he says that it seems to help.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Apr 17, 2007 10:57AM)
I get it!!!
Message: Posted by: eddieloughran (Apr 17, 2007 11:38AM)
There is a nice routine of John Ramsay's in The Ramsay Finale.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Apr 17, 2007 01:17PM)
There is? I'll look right now. I'm ashamed. I should have known.

And Geoffrey Buckingham has a DVD that has his billiard ball routine on it as well.
Message: Posted by: that_magic_guy (Apr 17, 2007 04:52PM)
I have the wakeling book but I wanted to see others so thanks for all the input!!!
Message: Posted by: graywolf (Apr 17, 2007 04:53PM)
Richard Kaufman's Sidearm Snookery and John Fakeo videos,of course McBride..Howard
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Apr 18, 2007 06:14PM)
My best advice to you is to look AWAY from magic sources for your routine ideas. I know this sounds odd but I find you become much more creative if you teahc yourself to turn away from magic tapes and DVDs for your routine and act ideas. Look outward and not inward for creativity in the manipulative arts.

When we start to work on a magic routine or act we tend to start thinking in an “Inward” fashion. What usually happens is that you find yourself looking at props and apparatus with the intention of somehow combining these in some way to create an interesting piece of magic. This happens a lot and I must admit I have done this to in the past. To me this is inward thinking. You are forcing yourself to start at a particular place by narrowing your creative options.

But what I learned was that this only tends to hinder our creative thinking instead of allowing us to think fresh. If I start with certain props and apparatus or going to my dvds or videos first am I not already limiting my creativity by forcing it down a certain path? I would say yes it does. If I truly want to be creative with my magic I should learn to expand my thoughts and ideas and not allow the apparatus, props or videos to dictate what I am going to present to my audience. But how many of us go about creating magic in this fashion? If you are honest with yourself, probably a lot of you reading this article will admit that you tend to create in this exact manner.

But if we are not to inwardly think, then what is a different approach we can take? This is where the term “outward thinking’ came to me. I think to start thinking creatively with your magic you need to not limit yourself or your ideas. To many of us fall in the realm of looking inwards towards magic for our ideas and creative concepts instead of looking outwards away from magic. When you constantly are looking inward at magic for ideas, then it already starts limiting your imagination. Instead of being and allowing yourself to be truly creative, you are forcing yourself to recreate what has already been done before. In a sense inward thinking leads to magic clones.

So what about outward thinking? How can we take this approach and apply it to magic and to the new way we can think about the magic we create? Well for starters when you are working on a new routine or act, withstand the urge to go immediately to your magic books and magic videos. Get away from your props and apparatus in your magic den. Get away from it all and allow yourself to think.

Instead of taking a prop and wondering what to do with it, go the opposite direction. Allow yourself to first come up with the entertainment idea first and build the routine or act around that. What I mean is creative thinking should not be limited by what props you own or what videos you have or any of that. True creativity has no boundaries. Imagine how creative your magic can be if you stop limiting yourself from the start.

If a magician is all about entertaining his or her audience, then let us start being creative by first teaching ourselves to think of the creative and entertainment idea first. Ask yourself what would you like to see on that stage? What would be entertaining to an audience? Is there a character on stage doing something? If so who is this character and what would he do? If you start to ask yourself these questions then you start thinking in an outward motion. You are coming at your magic from a totally different angle. You will find yourself starting with the entertainment value of the routine and then building the rest of the routine around that. To me this is a much more creative way of thinking about magic. It allows you to open your mind up and to know that what you work on from that point on has to reflect back on the initial entertainment idea.

I think starting with the entertainment concept of the act is a much better way to be creative then forcing yourself to figure out what to do with these 4 props you have in your drawer. You start opening your mind up and start creating interesting ideas.

A perfect example of this type of thinking is from a show I saw Topas do at the SAM National Convention a few years ago. I got a chance to talk with him briefly after his lecture and he really opened my eyes. Here is a magician whose entire show is made up of routines that are so different and so creative that they appear fresh and fascinating. His thinking does not derive from an inward motion. It derives from looking away from magic for ideas.

If you have ever seen his “Time in a Bottle” routine you will know what I am talking about. Now I can not be 100% sure on this, but I can almost guarantee that the idea and creativity for the routine did not come from magic itself. Instead it came from an outward source. That source was a simply song he had heard. By hearing the song, this creative and entertainment idea comes into your head. In a way the song creates the entertainment and dictates what can be done with it. But now you have a creative idea that comes from an outward source and to me that is a much more powerful way to think about your magic. It makes it fresh and new and inspires us to think in different ways we may not have been ready to think before.

So I will leave you with these few thoughts. Next time you start working on a new routine or a new act, put away the magic books and lock the videos away in a drawer. Force yourself not to go to them. Instead put on music, take a walk in nature or watch a good movie. This is the essence of what I refer to as outward thinking. Allow outside sources to inspire you and your magic. I think if you do, you will be shocked at what creative ideas will come from it.

My 2 cents worth.

Message: Posted by: RickThibau (Apr 19, 2007 12:04AM)
2 cents? This post worths being in the forum. We all should read it twice.

Good insights about this subject can be found on Tommy Wonder's thinking (Books of Wonder), but maybe is time to read poetry, and listen to music, go to the cinema!

Beautifull post Kyle!
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Apr 19, 2007 11:09AM)
Thank you so much Rick for your kind words. I do appreciate it. This is the way I have always tried to think about he way I go about my magic. I think too many of us think inwards and look inwards instead of really opening our minds to creativity by looking outwards. There is just so much creativity out there and every one of us has the ability to be creative. Thanks again.

Message: Posted by: that_magic_guy (Apr 20, 2007 12:18PM)
Wow now that's a response I wasnt exactly expecting that, but thank you I will definatly take your advice to heart!
Message: Posted by: Payne (Apr 20, 2007 12:50PM)
On 2007-04-18 19:14, magic4u02 wrote:

My best advice to you is to look AWAY from magic sources for your routine ideas. I know this sounds odd but I find you become much more creative if you teach yourself to turn away from magic tapes and DVDs for your routine and act ideas. Look outward and not inward for creativity in the manipulative arts.


Excellent advice. Here's how I approached devising my routine, excerpted from my Lecture notes "Sometimes the Jokes are Just for Me"

So let’s apply what we’ve learned so far to another classic of magic, the venerable Multiplying Bottles.
I first saw this trick done when I was a kid and it left a lasting impression. All those bottles coming out of the two tubes was a great visual. It looked like real magic. However, as a kid there was no way I could afford a set of bottles. I had to settle for an crummy set of Passe-Passe Bottles which, because of its anticlimactic ending, I only performed a few times. I felt it lacked something without the production of a dozen bottles at the end of the trick. The prop was soon relegated to the bottom of my magic trunk.
Years pass. I am asked to do a show for a local Science Fiction Convention. I now have to come up with some tricks that would be suitable for the theme. The local magic shop had an old set of bottles on a dusty top shelf. They had been sitting up there for years and years and since I didn’t have a need for them before I really never gave them much thought. But now, in need of new material, I suddenly saw them in a whole new light. I begin to mull over in my mind what one might do with such a trick.
First off, WHY would a bottle move from one tube to another? Since this presentation was for a Science Fiction convention I was only logical to start thinking about a scientific reason. Perhaps I could employ a Star Trek theme. A demonstration of the Enterprise’s transporter or a display of some other Starfleet technology. This would require both lighting and sound effects which would take more time than I had and more money than I wanted to spend. Those ideas were quickly shelved. I did like the Science theme, so I kept traveling down that path. WHAT scientific reason could explain the anomaly of a transposing bottle and glass? WHY would they change places? I found my answer in quantum mechanics. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that by observing an event you change it. Therefore if you observed the bottle in one position, it would now have a reason to change.
I now had my WHY. Now for the WHAT. This wasn’t too difficult to come up with. I would simply be giving a demonstration that illustrated some of the basic concepts of quantum mechanics.
That, or actually WHAT, decided I moved on to WHO. Again, I had little difficulty in deciding upon a character to portray. It would be an extension of my usual performing persona, comic, somewhat tongue in cheek and larger than life . Professor Payne, founder and president of Thaumaturge Technologies, a company devoted to putting the magic back into science.
WHERE was decided by the organization that was booking me. It would be on a stage set up in the ballroom of a major airport hotel. I’d have access to sound and lights but virtually no setup time or room to have much equipment pre-set. I would have help bringing my props onstage but everything had to pretty much be bulletproof setup and break down wise.
WHEN was in a few weeks time so I had more than enough time to write the script and rework the prop.
HOW, well as I said how is the easiest part of the puzzle since the effect I wanted to perform and the prop I was going to use were one and the same.
So Three Hundred dollars, fifteen cans of spray paint, and several physic’s textbooks latter gave me this routine.
My bottles are a set of twelve, two sets of six nesting bottles of indeterminable origin. They were all an anodized pale green and looked exactly like the bottles one would find at your corner magic shop. Needless to say, a lot of priming, sanding and painting needed to be done. The final three bottles of each stack were so much smaller than the first three that it was rather obvious that they had been originally nested together. Something needed to be done. When placed side by side, the first three bottles all looked to be the same size. The last three did as well. It was only when you looked at the first three next to the last three that the size difference became readily apparent. I decided to paint the last three of each stack completely differently than the first three to help camouflage the size discrepancy. My set has the first six bottles being the traditional black beer bottle style and the last six are each a different colour and made to look like expensive liqueur bottles. Using a simple graphics program on my computer I designed original labels for my bottles, which was a lot cheaper than buying twelve different brands of booze just to soak off the labels.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Apr 20, 2007 01:49PM)
Thank you for the kind words. I wanted to post my thoughts here because creativity ion the magical arts is something I am quite big on. I think too many of us look the wrong way for creative ideas and do not realize just how creative we can be if we train our minds to think in a different direction.

It is just too easy to look at magic videos and DVDs for ideas. But what happens is that we only start creating the same basic routines that have already been done before. The creativity becomes more of cloning off of someone else.

Every single person has the ability to be creative. I really strongly believe that. The problem is that like any acquired skill, being creative takes time and constant practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

It has been said it takes roughly 30 days of constant doing to break or make a habit. So start training yourself to be creative and to think outwardly. If you keep on doing this, you then train the brain on how to look for creative ideas. Soon those ideas will start coming to you a lot faster then what you would think initially.

Thanks also for your thoughts my friend. In your classic example of WHAT you clearly are showing that you are looking outward at science for inspiration on a routine idea. This is what I am talking about. You did not run to your magic collection of tapes and start watching stuff. You looked towards science and real world reality to come up with a creative idea that was new and different for you.

Great stuff and I hope these ideas start to get people to think differently about their manipulative acts and routines.

Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (May 2, 2007 08:23PM)
Tommy Wonder even suggests the second step (after forgeting props and methods altogether and just imagining what the ideal effect/presentation would be). Next look for the "shadows," those moments and places where attention is not directed during the idealized performance. This second step will reveal what methods to choose or create.

Thank you, Kyle, for the encouragement to look outward and away from props, methods, conventional presentations, and standard effects as the starting point of creating.

Message: Posted by: JamesTong (May 3, 2007 10:29AM)
Thinking outside the box is what gets our creative juices going.

I started off with the standard 4 balls routine with the s**** without referring to any materials. that's because I do not want to cramp myself to the limited resources I can get from books or DVDs (those days were the videos).

Then I went on to develop another 4 balls routine with the s****. I push myself further to develop more routines - 8 ball routine and 10 balls routine with s****.
Then I went on to develop routines with balls only - 4 balls routine, 5 balls routine and 8 balls routine with different color balls without s****.

But today I am performing a quick 8 ball routine that only last 1 minute. There are times that I do perform a 5 balls routine with different color balls without s**** but this routine is only a transitional phase that leads in to another routine.

The key is to experiment with the materials you have. But of course, before that you need to know what you want to achieve.

1) Are you using the balls routine as the main act for that slot?
2) Are you using it as a transitional phase that would lead to another routine?
3) Are you using the ball as part of a theme to support the character you are playing on stage?

My suggestion is not to cramp yourself to any established routine created by others eventhough you may have permission to perform it. Play around with different ideas, moves or storylines.

Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: ufo (May 3, 2007 10:50AM)
Bravo to all contributors to this post and especially the always insighful Kyle!
Message: Posted by: Paul Jester (May 3, 2007 01:02PM)
If you've never studied ball work before, learn all you can, you'll want a good foundation when it comes to building your own act. In magic we're merely standing on the shoulders of giants. "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources" ;)

When it comes to creating an act, there is more to the magician than just magic. Look to other things that you love to begin.

Usually I'd talk for ages on a subject like this, but I've just being reading "Magic and Showmanship" by Henning Nelms. If you've not read it, do. It covers a lot of whats already been said, and more. A very good guide to creating magic, written back when magic was performed primarily on stage.

Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 3, 2007 02:57PM)
Even coin routines can give you some good ideas.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (May 9, 2007 12:11PM)
Yes, it is good to pick up ideas from other magic categories, then combine them and you get a uniquely and creative piece of work.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 9, 2007 07:37PM)
Thank you for the kind words UFO. I really appreciate it. There is some really nice thoughts posted here and I think everyone for contributing. I just feel us magicians fall in love with ourselves. By this I mean we end up performing for ourselves and we often times forget the audience is there. We learn all these great moves so we feel we have to showcase everyone of them. Instead, we shopuld realize that the magic is ALWAYS about and for our audiences. We must realize that the magic and manipulative acts we create should use the moves as tools in which to create this entertainment value.

Message: Posted by: JamesTong (May 11, 2007 10:31AM)
Kyle hit it right on the nail - magicians tend to focus on techniques, props and gadgets rather than the magic effects, presentation and the magic moment for the audience.

Thanks Kyle
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 12, 2007 09:08PM)
You are most welcome James. It is my goal to always get magicians to start thinking outwardly instead of always looking inwards at magic for ideas. I know that each and every magician reading this or that is out there, has the ability to be creative and different. We just need to learn who our audience really is and me reminded that we owe it to ourselves and to them to take the time to create entertaining magic.

Message: Posted by: Dizzy (May 20, 2007 10:22AM)
I think the best multiplying ball routine I have seen is from the french magician Norbert Ferre. I wouldn't spoil it for those of you who haven't seen his act. This guy has such a unique style and his hands are the same size as mine. I was making excuses to him that my hands weren't big enough for manipulation and ball work then I measured mine against his and was so suprised, with such small hands he can do wonderful stuff.
If you search you tube, he had downloaded some videos which contain part of his fism winning act.
I also have a great booklet about Ron McMillians routine, I can't remember the name so I'll try and get back to you on that one,

Message: Posted by: The Great Danton (May 20, 2007 12:32PM)
Yes, Norbert Ferre has a amazing routine....and I'm guessing that you met him, Dizzy?
Message: Posted by: Paul Jester (May 20, 2007 05:22PM)
Ron McMillians routine is pretty good, but he does use some unusual holders which makes it pretty inaccessible to the beginner. The booklet is called "Symphany of the Spheres".

Better is Geofrey Buckinghams book "It's Easier Than You Think" (legend!), and also the Buckley Book "Principles and Deceptions" which teaches all solid ball, up to 8 routine, and a whole load of moves, and a great theory section too.

Good luck,
(It seems we talk about which balls and material over and over......)
Message: Posted by: Dizzy (May 20, 2007 09:13PM)
On 2007-05-20 13:32, The Great Danton wrote:
Yes, Norbert Ferre has a amazing routine....and I'm guessing that you met him, Dizzy?

I've known Norbert for quite a few years now, we had lunch last Monday morning after the Bristol convention, he's a great guy. A few years ago at the magic circle celebrations, I managed to see some of Norbert's ball mulipulation close-up, it was amazing. We had been drinking all night and he still managed to come up with the goods. Florian Zimmer also has some ball manipulation in his act, it's a very hip up to date act, he should also be on youtube if you search.

I nearly forgot, don't know how but did anyone see the guy who performed a whole act on ball manipulation in his underwear at fism?